Friday Thought #93 Awesome America

So I’m afraid I’ve had a bit of a summer break, but I’m back, and despite it feeling like a very long time ago now, I would like to journey back to our American road trip this summer. We try and do at least a 10 day road trip in the States every summer, simply because we love it. It is a country with endless adventures, you could spend multiple lifetimes there and still only scratch the surface of its diversity. Coming from Europe it’s hard to get your head around a land mass that size which is all one country, over here we are so used to being able to hop on a plane and be in another country in little more than an hour. And not just a different country, but one with a totally different language, a new culture, a completely different climate. And while that is just wonderful, the grass is always greener isn’t it?! What you haven’t grown up with is always intriguing and exciting, and it kind of blows my mind that in America you can drive in a straight line for 10 hours and still be in the same state!

I just love the American open roads, the big skies, the sheer enormity of it, the emptiness. Europe is SO full, especially in the summer. You cannot pitch your tent on a public campsite and be more than 5 meters away from the tent next to you. And try driving anywhere on mainland Europe in July and August without being stuck in dreadful traffic and adding at least a couple of hours to your journey. Away from the cities, the States is simply empty. During the week it’s not uncommon to have an entire state campground to  yourself, and as for the wilderness areas, wow, uninhabited wild spaces that size are just mind boggling, and it almost makes me feel worried that I’m never going to have the time or opportunity to fully explore even a fraction of these incredible places.

So enough of my rambling, this trip saw us starting in Seattle and finishing in Portland, Oregon, in between managing to explore a bit of the Olympic Penninsula, stay on a horse ranch in rural Idaho and journey across Idaho and Oregon, taking in some incredible places, including Boise, Bend, Smith Rock, deserted campgrounds, empty lakes, and of course those endless skies.

If you ever plan a trip to the States I can’t recommend road tripping enough. It is by far the best way to see the country. We didn’t really have a set plan, just followed the weather and went wherever took our fancy. The roads are enormous and there is never any traffic, which means that rather than being a chore, the journey to a new destination is all part of the fun, in fact it’s thoroughly enjoyable! Crank up that country music and sit back and relax under those big, open skies…

Friday thought #41 Incredible Utah

We hadn’t planned to come this far south on our road trip of the States. Time constraints and commitments in Missoula meant we had intended to go as far as Yellowstone National Park and then loop back up towards Montana. However, when we woke up in Driggs, in the Teton National Park, we were met with dreary, miserable grey rain. To our dismay we checked the weather forecast and discovered that the rain was set to stay over the Tetons and our pocket of Wyoming for the next week. What to do, what to do…?

After much deliberation and calendar checking we decided to head south, to Salt Lake City. We weren’t sure if it was a wise move, it was a long way off track and would add around 700 miles to our trip but considering fuel is practically free here (compared to Europe!) and Salt Lake is somewhere we’d always wanted to see, how bad a decision could it be??

And what a brilliant decision it turned out to be!

The sun has shone from the minute we arrived and yesterday we hiked up on of the biggest peaks in the area; Deseret Peak. Over 10,000 ft high and an 8 mile round trip, no mean feat in 33 degree heat! The hike itself is beautiful, and we were even lucky enough to spot a doe trotting along the meadow en route! At the summit you are treated to an unbelievable 360 panorama of the Salt Lake and the Salt flats (where the land speed record was set). In one direction is Utah and over the other mountain range lies Nevada. The scenery is simply stunning and the lake is so vast it’s very hard to believe you’re not looking at the sea.

More to come on the Salt Lake itself. What a diverse country this is, and we’ve only seen a tiny fraction. I think I could spend forever travelling round America. If only work, life, time and money didn’t get in the way…!

Here are some of the photos from the top.

View across the salt flats of Salt Lake
View across the salt flats of Salt Lake
Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City
Amazing Utah
Amazing Utah
It seemed fitting to drink a Utah beer at the top, overlooking the famous Great Salt Lake
It seemed fitting to drink a beer at the top, overlooking the famous Great Salt Lake!